A north-east prisoner made a daring escape from custody after asking his guards if he could use the toilet, the Evening Express can reveal.
Jed Duncan attended an appointment at a city hospital on Wednesday morning and had been picked up by G4S security staff to be taken back to HMP Grampian, where the 23-year-old was in custody.
However, before heading from Aberdeen to the Peterhead superjail, the guards drove to Aberdeen Sheriff Court to pick up other prisoners.
As they pulled up outside the court, at around 11.40am, Duncan asked the guards if he could use the court toilet.
The guards were aware Duncan would otherwise not be able to use the toilet until they arrived back at HMP Grampian an hour later, so they let him out and undid his handcuffs, it is understood.
After using the toilet, Duncan returned to the van and pushed a guard before running off. No guard was hurt in the incident.
Later that afternoon, Duncan was spotted in a stolen blue 4×4 in a different part of Aberdeen.
It is believed the vehicle crashed into an oncoming car.
Witnesses have told police they saw the car crash into a Honda Civic as Duncan weaved through traffic on Rousay Drive while police were pursuing.
The 4×4 was then abandoned and Duncan got on to a scooter and made his getaway.
Police believe Duncan went to Woodend Hospital at around 12.40pm.
A spokesman for G4S told the Evening Express the company was working to establish how Duncan was able to abscond.
He added: “We can confirm a prisoner absconded from a prisoner transport vehicle shortly after noon on Wednesday on Queen Street.
“We are working with the police to urgently bring the prisoner back into custody.”
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A Scottish Prison Service spokesman said: “We are aware an individual has escaped from the custody of G4S while on a hospital escort and we are assisting Police Scotland to apprehend them.”
A police investigation into the incident is continuing today.
Chief Inspector Neil McDonald urged anyone who knows where Duncan is to contact police by calling 999 or 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
He said: “There is nothing to suggest there is a wider threat to the public; however, we would urge anyone who knows where Jed is to contact us immediately.
“Jed is described as 5ft 9in in height, of slim build and is known to have been wearing a black beanie hat and dark clothing.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service confirmed Duncan was not at Aberdeen Sheriff Court for a court appearance.